Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 18
'Farmers are anxious to use [broadband]
connectivity to enhance precision agriculture as well as electronic commerce. All
farmers need to be able to take advantage
of these technologies.'
At a farm show in the nation's heartland last summer, he witnessed the demonstration of a GPS-enhanced
tractor that could plow a furrow for fertilizer in the fall
and return in the spring to place seed in the exact same
"It could reach down in that subsoil right where the
fertilizer was...and ultimately produce a 10 to 15 percent
bushel increase," Perdue says. "Farmers are anxious to
use [broadband] connectivity to enhance precision agriculture as well as electronic commerce. All farmers need
to be able to take advantage of these technologies."
When governor, Perdue invited Georgians to share
their concerns in person; during "Saturdays With Sonny,"
residents could meet with the governor for 15 minutes to
discuss any ideas or concerns.
"It gave everyday citizens access, and I learned of
some issues I never would have learned through routine
channels, and we made efforts to correct those," says
Perdue, noting that last summer's RV tours and other
listening sessions are designed to accomplish the same.
"It gives me [the] opportunity to hear issues I would
not hear by sitting in the office all the time," Perdue says.
"It's a matter of being approachable, of providing a culture of approachability American citizens need to have in
Jackie Kennedy is a freelance writer living in
LaGrange. Her story about former Georgia Gov. Sonny
Perdue and his wife, Mary, appeared in the April 2005
edition of GEORGIA Magazine.
that have stifled the agricultural industry.
"We have experienced a sustained time in history
where our farmers have been regulated to death," Perdue
says. "To unleash the productivity we know American
entrepreneurs can achieve, we have to peel back job-killing regulations so our people can do what they do best,
which is to produce products and grow the economy."
Those who make their living off the land work
diligently to maintain their way of life, diversifying as
necessary to stay on the family farm, according to the
"Farmers are very creative and innovative when it
comes to looking for ways to gain revenue on the farm,"
he says, pointing out the growing trend of agritourism.
Despite farmers' "do-it-yourself" mentality, some
things are beyond their control, such as the availability
of reliable internet service in some rural areas. Perdue
recently met with stakeholders at the White House to
"focus federal effort on broadband connectivity across
America," he says.
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, left, and USDA
Secretary Sonny Perdue ham it up in the Georgia Grown building
at the Georgia National Fair last October.
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black
doesn't hesitate to call his longtime colleague, Sonny
Perdue, "the most-qualified and best-prepared" of
anyone who's ever served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"You have to add up his life experiences of growing
up in agriculture, having formal training as a doctor of
veterinary medicine, then agribusiness owner and grain
trader, then several areas of public service all the way up
to being the chief executive of the state," Black says. "I
think we'll find during his term of service he'll be the rock
star of the entire cabinet."
Black has known Perdue since 1991, when Perdue
started serving as state senator representing Georgia's
18th Senate district and Black was a lobbyist for the Georgia Agribusiness Council. The two worked together on
several pieces of legislation through the 1990s.
One of Black's proudest moments occurred during
Perdue's tenure as governor.
"I worked hand in hand with him to establish his
advisory agriculture committee that put National Agriculture Day on the map in Georgia," Black says. "Prior to Gov.
Perdue, we did news releases and everybody yawned.
When Perdue was governor, it turned into something that
drew quite a bit of attention during the General Assembly."
Black heaps praise on Perdue's ability to "track down
the best talent" and feels the USDA team he's put together is exceptional. He calls the new secretary "a man of
integrity" who will stand firm for what he believes in.
"He's a vigilant fighter," Black concludes, "and that's
what we need for the future of agriculture at this juncture
in our history."
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - April 2018
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 3
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 5
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 6
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 7
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 8
Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 9
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Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - 11
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Georgia Magazine - April 2018 - Cover3
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